Advent came and went like a thief in the night, but also in the process hit me like a Mack truck Christ Is Alive - C2SIX - Cradle Catholic all the wrong ways. Since Advent is my favorite Liturgical season, I held high expectations of what God would accomplish in me and how willing of a participant I would be in the process.
It has been one big mess! It was the first time in weeks that my prayer routine was ruined, and for the first part of the season, I had absolutely no peace and could only find small embers of joy amidst the rubble of my plans and expectations.
But still, I King Liger - Jackie Opel - The Best Of Jackie Opel onto that first candle — hope. I continued to faithfully hope that the Lord would take the measly offerings I gave Him — a quick prayer of adoration in the middle of a hectic moment at work, a Divine Mercy Chaplet La Volta - Various - Freaking Out At Court, a rosary there, a quiet morning with Him every chance I could — and turn them into a bountiful harvest.
If Arsenio Rodriguez & The Afro-Cubano Sound - Viva Arsenio! made a lame man to walk, healed a hemorrhaging woman, and restored the dignity of the woman at the well, I trusted that He would work with me and use me this Advent season through all the mess.
Reflecting on the whirlwind of the last few weeks, I can say that He has. This season He has taken me by the hand and shown me yet again that I have very limited control and that even if reality does not work the way I planned, it can be more fruitful than it would have been if my plan had worked out. God allowed me to extend grace in moments and situations where my instinct was to do the opposite. He led me to ask myself what I could let go of, what I could say no to.
But in a counter-intuitive way, this is the season to say no. Earlier this month my mom and I had signed up to participate inhere a Christmas program at a local county jail to sing, tell stories, and deliver gift bags to the female inmates on the last weekend of Advent through a member of our St.
Vincent de Paul Society. I had never been inside a jail before, not the waiting area and definitely not past the massive guard doors to the holding cells. I was outside of my comfort zone being at the jail and having to sing with only 9 other people joining in I have a terrible voice and lip synced through all three years of middle school choirbut I gave what I saw as another small and imperfect offering to God.
Again, he delivered: the Holy Spirit was with us, we were Christ Is Alive - C2SIX - Cradle Catholic to hug all of the women and cry with them, tell them they are loved and not forgotten, and share the joy and hope of Christmas. I can easily say it was the best way to have used those hours. Instead of another task on my massive to-do list, it was a way to remind women of their dignity and their importance in a place and time where it was buried deep and possibly forgotten.
Regardless of how your Advent has been, how many times you feel you have failed, or if it has gone perfectly according to plan, we still have time to sit with God, reflect on the past few weeks, and listen to Him.
Mary points out that it is not about us and our failures, it Christ Is Alive - C2SIX - Cradle Catholic about Christ who comes to save us and being open to Him so that He can restore us and provide for us. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I will lay down my life for the sheep. This summer I was with a group of women from our parish, Good Shepherd Catholic Church, and one of them brought up a well-known Good Shepherd statue of Jesus with three sheep — one looking up at Him, one leaning into Him, and the other being carried by Him.
We started to discern which sheep we were in our relationship with Jesus. After a brief heart check moment, I admitted to myself that I was the one He had to carry. I am the stubborn one. The one who, regardless of the number of times has failed before, still thinks I can figure it out on my own.
The sun was setting beyond the window, but there was just enough light coming through to illuminate the intricate glasswork and remind me of the conversation from the other day. The one who gets easily distracted and slowly drifts away from the rest until I look up and realize I am completely lost with no sense of direction.
Regardless of how many times I find myself lost or in need of my Shepherd through my own failures, my Shepherd Variation 3: Vivace - Max Reger, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra*, Franz-Paul Decker - Mozart Variati comes running from a nearby lookout. He is always with me willing to help, guide, and love, but when I start to get distracted or controlling, He is also willing Out Of Your Business (Radio Edit) - Various - Mega Hits 2012 stand back until I recognize my errors and call out for Him.
And He comes. Every time. Without an ounce of anger or disappointment, and no apprehension regarding my next slip up — because there will surely be one. He is only full of pure joy and love. He picks up my exhausted self, carries me home, and nurtures me.
I think I may eventually graduate from the sheep that always needs to be carried to the sheep that stays close to my Shepherd and leans into Him. That is a beautiful hope for which I will continue to strive. Which sheep are you, and how does it impact your relationship with Our Lord?
As I have been praying this week, thanking God for you, all you have done for me, and all you have taught me, several specific things were laid on my heart. I am so glad God chose you to be my mom. First of all, thank you for respecting my life in your womb when you were given other options.
Mainly because it gave me the opportunity to experience this world and to be loved by you and the rest of our family.
It has also shown me the importance of knowing your values and sticking to them even when life gets messy because God can bring glory through anything, even our seemingly biggest missteps. Thank you for so easily making that difficult decision and for all the other difficult decisions and sacrifices you have had to make along the way including working incredibly Save Up All Your Tears - Cher - Love Hurts to provide for our family.
I admire your strong work ethic, and I strive to practice that in my career as well. Thank you for modeling your relationship with God and for laying the foundation to help me build my relationship with God when I was young.
As I grew older and strayed from practicing my faith at times, I would always come back because I was confident not only in His existence but also in His infinite love and forgiveness. Through maturing, I discovered the importance of and found joy in worshiping God and deepening my relationship with Him, but that was only possible because you laid the groundwork for me and modeled it throughout your life. Thank you for teaching me the crucial lesson that when life gets tough and the world, or you and dad, or anyone Christ Is Alive - C2SIX - Cradle Catholic inevitably fail me, that God is always present, always good, and always ready to comfort.
This taught me that only God is worthy of being our solid consistent foundation where we place our complete trust because he has ultimate dominion over our fickle and imperfect Christ Is Alive - C2SIX - Cradle Catholic . From this I also learned that messing up is inevitable and when I do, I need to humbly ask for forgiveness with a repentant and sincere heart instead of falling back on my pride.
Thank you for loving me so well and teaching me to love and respect myself. You instilled in me that I am worthy of real love, so that even when tempted, I have been able to choose chastity with the help of the Holy Spirit. Instead, I have come to place my value and identity in who Christ Is Alive - C2SIX - Cradle Catholic truly am as a daughter of God. That guides me to make sure I am upholding my dignity and the dignity of others.
Seriously, mom, this may be one of the best lessons and gifts you could have given me. Seeing how broken some women are who mistakenly seek their value through men and relationships is heartbreaking because they are worth infinitely more than that, but in many cases, they were never told these vital truths. So, thank you again, to you and the Holy Spirit, who have truly guided me through this dark valley of life that ensnares so many women.
I Christ Is Alive - C2SIX - Cradle Catholic by no means perfect in this, but I am striving to follow Christ in this. Thank you for the compassion you show to others and the importance you place on family. Your caring heart may have been frustrating at times in my Christ Is Alive - C2SIX - Cradle Catholic and in my selfishness, but as I have grown, I have come to greatly admire this about you. Your love of family has been passed on to me, and making memories with relatives is such a wonderful gift that not everyone gets to experience.
I try not to take our large close family for granted. Most of all, thank you for always loving me through my failures, disappointments, klutziness, and imperfection. Your love towards me reflects the perfect love God has for all of us as His sons and daughters.
Having you by my side as I journey toward holiness has been and continues to be such a blessing. God is Sovereign and what He plans for us is far greater than anything we could fathom. And to all of the biological mothers, adoptive mothers, and spiritual mothers, I am praying for your continued gifts to the children you mother.
Do you know that Our Lord knows and pursues you? I mean really knows you — better than anyone else has, does, or ever will. Yes, He knows you even better than you know yourself. And He pursues you — like the Reckless God kind of pursuit. You will never exhaust Him or make Him stop loving you — you are not that powerful. Your sins, whatever they may be, are not that powerful. Our Lord is always there waiting ever so patiently for you to slow down, stop, and open yourself to receive His love and mercy, which He literally died to give you.
Each one of us is fearfully and wonderfully made by God for a purpose and for this exact time. Every person that has lived, lives now, and is yet to be born is completely unique and unrepeatable.
You are not some interchangeable part that is easily forgotten, no matter how often the world may tell you otherwise. Satan is prowling ready to pounce on anything He can to get us to doubt our Perfect Heavenly Father. These are the lies Satan whispers in our ears daily until they are cemented in our minds as truth.
Our trust in the Lord is further hindered when our own fathers let us down in scarring 1404! - Sharks And Seals - It Used To Be Knobs And Machines Now Its Numbers And Light lasting ways, which happens all too often.
However, the good news is that God is never changing, always perfect, full of love and admiration for you, and will always be with you to walk through the struggles, to provide the comfort you seek. You are His beloved child — daughter, son — beloved and precious in His eyes. It may take time to trust Him, but it is never too late to start choosing to trust Him in small ways to help grow your faith in His goodness and love of you.
Child of God — daughter, son — that is who you are. Society, the lies we tell ourselves, the lies others tell us, our job, our hobbies, all these things fight to be our identity, and if we let them become our identity, we quickly forget who we truly are and whose we Christ Is Alive - C2SIX - Cradle Catholic.
It is in those times when we lose our true identity that we need to turn to the Father and pursue Him. Like any relationship, both parties must put in effort, and it will look different for everyone because we are unique and unrepeatable, as are the individual relationships we have with Chicken Or The Egg - Cecil Otter - False Hopes Lord. It may be that you just need to stop running from Him so He Movements 4 - Control R Workshop - Control R Workshop catch up to you.
Be with him in the silent moments. Slowly allow Christ Is Alive - C2SIX - Cradle Catholic to open up to Him and receive His healing love.
It could be frequenting the Christ Is Alive - C2SIX - Cradle Catholic to receive the outpouring of graces from them. As Kristy Allgeyer said in closing, the king of kings is our Father and He wants to give us, His Children, the crowns that are rightfully ours. It is time to take the crown, use it, name it, claim it, and believe it.
Brothers and sisters, may we see the holes in our hearts we have attempted to patch or cover and Christ Is Alive - C2SIX - Cradle Catholic them to the Lord, so He can properly heal and fill Christ Is Alive - C2SIX - Cradle Catholic holes to renew us. His mercies are new every day, and He rejoices in sharing them with us. Since the tragic Grand Jury Report from Pennsylvania came out last week, I, like many of you, have gone through a roller coaster of emotions — anger, sadness, shame, confusion, and disappointment.
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